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3M wins energy award for ninth consecutive year

by CW Staff on Apr 14, 2013

3M wins prestigious energy award for its conservation efforts.
3M wins prestigious energy award for its conservation efforts.

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For the ninth consecutive year, 3M has won a Sustained Excellence Award for its  worldwide energy conservation efforts from the US Environmental Protection Agency as part of its Energy Star Partner of the Year programme - making it the first firm to win as many consecutive awards.

The awards recognise "a select group of organisations that have exhibited outstanding leadership year after year," according to the EPA. "These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, and employing innovative energy efficiency approaches."

"3M's commitment to reducing its environmental impact on a global basis long predates the ENERGY STAR program; in fact, it's thoroughly embedded in our corporate culture," said Steve Schultz, 3M's corporate energy manager. 

In 2012, the company carried out a number of programmes and initiatives which contributed to its ninth win.

It earned ISO 50001 energy management certification for two plants, implemented 201 new energy efficiency projects and funded 23 smaller initiatives from a special corporate fund.

It also engaged in partnerships to develop carbon dioxide separation and recycling technologies, hosted a "Working with ENERGY STAR" workshop for local manufacturing companies, initiated a facility metering project to better track and manage energy use, hired a full-time analyst to organise facility energy data and mine it for new efficiency opportunities, awarded $225,000 in grants to academic researchers for energy-related studies and involved 78 3M facilities in the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge.

Since launching its "3P" program (Pollution Prevention Pays) in 1975, the firm estimates that innovations since then have reduced the company's greenhouse gas emissions by around 72%, and prevented more than 3.5bn lbs of pollution.

"The initiatives undertaken each year are broadly intended not only to continue our own progress but also to share what we've learned, and to encourage participation among our industrial suppliers while stimulating new avenues of research in the academic world," said Schultz.

"The overall objective is a better environment through wise energy management."

3M established a new set of sustainability goals in 2010 to be attained by 2015. Chief among those are reduction of volatile air emissions by 15% and solid waste by 10%, as well as a 25% improvement in energy efficiency. The energy-efficiency objective has already been achieved.